Volta Nord

Basel, CH
Bau- und Verkehrsdepartement des Kantons Basel-Stadt
63'500 m²
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Mixed use development with 150 social apartments

Open competition

Landscape: Studio Ha-Ha

The Volta Nord development plan envisions a contemporary transformation of the former industrial site into a mixed use district, with a variety of residential and commercial functions as well as high quality outdoor spaces. Our proposal features four diverse building volumes, which form a perimeter block together with the office and school building, with a communal courtyard  and a courtyard building enclosed within. A nine-story head building takes up the scale of the adjacent school building and serves as the defining volume towards the "Lysbücheplatz". Vis-à-vis the former wine warehouse, a six-story building is positioned along the Weinlagerstrasse. The longitudinal building, with gallery access, is slightly set back from the head building and thus forms the main entrance for the new development. The building's setting takes up the street alignment of the Beckenweg and creates a square at the intersection of Beckenweg and Weinlagerstrasse. The eight-story building along the Elsässerstrasse is in dialogue with the large scale buildings on the opposite side and its structural setting prevents noise pollution from entering the area. The five-story courtyard building appears light and permeable and is designed as a communal space. Studio apartments on the first floor as well as large residential communities on the upper floors promote living together in the new community center.

The entrance plaza is marked by a small group of trees and is equipped with a bench. It extends the Beckenweg visually and the Lysbüchelplatz materially, thus functioning both as a connecting element of the entire area and as an entrance point for the residential block. With its diverse nature, the inner courtyard provides a recreational space for all residents. The adjacent community room with an integrated garden kitchen at the rear of the head building forms the backbone for events and gatherings of all kinds.

The diversity of uses and intermixing ensures a socially and economically stable, as well as a lively neighborhood in the long term. Due to experimental and individually tailored dwelling strategies, new, innovative and need-oriented forms of living become possible. In the same spirit, collectively usable spaces are provided, so that a contemporary, diverse and resilient answer to the need for individuality and uniqueness in our society can be given.

The large form is composed of three volumes, which have different types of apartments. In the head building, four apartments per floor are accessed through a central atrium. Along the Weinlagerstrasse, there are apartments stretching from the street to the inner courtyard with gallery access. The slab building contains noise-optimized apartments with overheight kitchens on the street side, while private living and sleeping areas are oriented towards the courtyard. The courtyard building appears light and permeable and offers space for communal living.

The roof garden is an oasis with views of both the courtyard garden and the surrounding city. An organically designed path of cast-in-place concrete and gravel connects the terrace spaces which enclose the garden and serve as an access point. Movable furniture allows residents to host gatherings or simply meet for an evening drink.

The courtyard building accommodates flexible residential communities: The private spaces are all on the northwest side, while the common spaces face the courtyard. The modular floor plan allows for adjustments to the organization of the spaces. Thus there is the option of dividing each floor into three, two, or one large residential community.

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